asked the Secretary for Technical Co-operation whether he is sponsoring economic studies of the development needs of overseas countries; and whether he is able to recruit sufficient economists for overseas service to meet the requests received from developing countries.
My Department has now arranged to finance the appointment of three economists each at Oxford and Cambridge, who will be available for overseas assignments and, while at home, will engage in research on the economic problems of developing countries. My Department also provides research grants for overseas institutes engaged in such studies. Economists are in great demand, and very difficult to recruit for service overseas.
I am grateful for what my hon. Friend says. This is a new scheme and, I think, a hopeful one. We must get it going, and when we have had a little experience of it I will certainly consider whether we can extend it to the other universities.
Rather germane to the hon. Member's question was one of the proposals discussed at the recent Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference, which has been submitted by the Prime Ministers, for further study by officials. There was talk of a special institute; certainly, if such an institute were set up, training in this economic development and planning would feature very largely in its curriculum.